Is Wood Filler Stainable? — Before and After Results

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We all know that wood fillers are excellent materials for hiding cracks, holes, or gaps. The only problem is they don’t always blend in with the surface. Given this dilemma, it’s not unnatural to ask whether wood filler is stainable or not.  

Read along as our resident woodworkers tackle the typical concern with tips to help you achieve your desired flawless finish. 

Can You Apply Stain on Wood Filler?

If you scan through today’s market, finding stainable wood fillers is not as hard as before. Most manufacturers indicate this feature in the product labels to help buyers identify which are stainable and which are not. 

These products are from porous materials, like sawdust. Because of this, they won’t have difficulty taking in stains and other color pigments. 

applying wood filler

Besides buying, you can also consider the DIY route. Mix sawdust with glue or other binding substances to make a stainable wood filler

Which Stain and Wood Filler to Use for the Best Results

Since water-based stains are thinner than other alternatives, we don’t doubt they can take filling compounds better. 

Meanwhile, you can count on product labels to determine which wood filler suits the staining process. However, we still recommend getting ones with a likeness to natural wood pores. 

Since they’re water and oil-absorbent, these wood fillers can draw in penetrating stains without any problem. Their natural wood colors also allow the filler to blend with the surrounding wooden surface. 

Light or Dark Stains?

Between light and dark stains, using the latter makes more sense. You may not know, but darker alternatives cover the wood filler better than lighter options. It can also hide the wood grain, so it doesn’t matter what shade the lumber has. 

testing wood stain on rubberwood

If you want the filler to be unnoticeable, your best shot is painting over the stain with a darker color. Here’s how to stain wood darker.  

Ultimately, deciding between dark and light stains depends on the surface size you’re repairing. Although it’s advisable to choose darker products for extensive repairs, lighter ones also work for smaller gaps or cracks as long as it resembles the wood’s natural color. 

Staining Tips for a Seamless Finish

Tip #1: Test the Stain and Filler on a Scrap Piece

You wouldn’t want surprises when doing this task, so our team suggests conducting a test run on a scrap wood piece. You can apply the filler on its surface to see if it’ll yield the desired result. By doing this, you’ll minimize wasted time and resources. 

Tip #2: Buy a Wood-Colored Filler Close to Your Wood’s Pigment

Staining is only necessary if the wood filler doesn’t match the material’s color pigment. So if you want to save yourself a step and extra expenses, buying filling compounds that resemble the wood you’re handling is the wisest step.

applying Elmer's Probond P9890 Interior Wood Filler

Tip #3: Customize Your Own Wood Filler

As we mentioned, wood fillers are easy to DIY. You can make them with typical materials at the workshop, like sawdust and a strong wood glue. Mix them well on a paper plate or container to build the filler’s consistency. 

Tip #4: Tint Your Wood Filler

Another way to make your filler match the wood’s grain is by adding color to the solution. However, you must ensure that the coloring pigment is compatible with the solvent substance in your filler, or it won’t mix well. 

Tip #5: Apply Wood Conditioner

Applying wood conditioner is recommended, especially if you want to produce a lighter finish. Although you can always choose a light stain over dark ones, don’t forget that these products are meant to yield darker finishes. 

wood conditioner

Tip #6: Choose the Right Stain Type

Like it or not, staining products include labels indicating whether they suit outdoor or indoor use. Exterior stains can withstand elements that interior alternatives cannot, like moisture, UV rays [1], and harsh weather conditions. 


Why does wood filler not stain?

Wood filler does not stain because it’s not a stainable variant. If you can’t replace it with a stainable product, you can sand its surface to increase its adhesion.

Can you stain plastic wood filler?

Yes, you can stain plastic wood filler because seventy percent of it includes porous materials. Since it has wood substances, it can absorb stains with no problem. 


Wood filler is stainable, but not all options in the market are. Therefore, checking the product labels before using them for repairs is crucial. There’s also no shame in taking the DIY route if you’re repairing a small surface. 

And if the unstainable filling compound is already on the surface, our woodworking experts recommend sanding it down to enhance its adhesion. 

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson
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